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Pope Francis weighs in on his historic meeting with the head of the Russian Orthodox Church

2016-02-13

Pope Francis was visibly moved just moments after his historic meeting with the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Setting aside centuries of division and tension, Patriarch Kirill publicly announced that both churches can indeed cooperate and work together.

Pope Francis thanked Cuban leader, Raul Castro for hosting the meeting, adding that it was discussed back in September when Pope Francis visited the island.

The Pope said initiatives were discussed with the Russian Orthodox Church, adding that their relationship will move forward through collaboration and not theological meetings.

POPE FRANCIS
"If unity is to be settled through studies and theological experts...The Lord will come again, and we will still be working on unity. Unity is reached by walking together. That way when the Lord does come again, He will at least find us walking together.”

As a symbol of their historic meeting, both the Pope and Patriarch, signed a so called 'pastoral' declaration, but the Pope emphasized that the document wasn't about politics, but about collaboration.

It states that both Churches need to work together and respond to some of the modern day challenges faced by society as a whole.

It also calls on the international community to take immediate action when it comes to helping persecuted Christians and other minorities in the Middle East. In doing so, both leaders highlighted the importance of inter-religious dialogue and the responsibility religious leaders have in promoting mutual respect with those who practice other faiths.

Their meeting also emphasized that marriage cannot be equated to other forms of co-habitation. They denounced abortion and expressed worry with the growing use of reproductive services in the bio-medical field.

POPE FRANCIS
"It was a conversation between brothers. We spoke clearly about issues that worry us both. I can truly say, that I felt as if I was speaking to a brother.”

Even though the Pope had been up and running since the early morning, he seemed happy and energized. He even joked that in a way, he was getting ready for Mexico.

POPE FRANCIS
"Now, the next step is doing 14 miles on the popemobile. Thank you for the work you do. Do what you can. Thank you very much.”

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